In this article, the effects of social isolation which can lead to increasing feelings of loneliness and abandonment for some are examined. The article analyses findings which emerged from a qualitative study carried out with older people in three distinct areas in Scotland (city, rural and urban) who were shielding during Covid-19. It focuses on the ways in which social isolation affected them and the extent to which information and communication technology (ICT) and telecare technologies served to mitigate key aspects. The key themes which emerged from the research included loneliness as ‘multi-layered’, with these layers including ‘disconnections between loneliness and social isolation’; ‘well-being reversals’; ‘neighbours as strangers’; ‘disjointed communities and co-production’ and ‘service abandonment’. Additional themes which emerged focused on ‘ICT rebounds and evolvement’ and ‘hope, buoyancy and reciprocity’. These layers and themes can be seen to have longer term significance with regard to the implications for social work and social care planning as we move forward. They also emphasise the need for greater cohesiveness between health, telecare and social care services.


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Cite as

Fawcett, B. & Karastoyanova, K. 2022, 'Older people, loneliness, social isolation and technological mitigations: utilising experiences of the Covid-19 pandemic as we move forward', British Journal of Social Work, article no: bcac157. https://doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcac157

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Last updated: 05 September 2022
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